M. Andrew Gordon

Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Cranberry Pie, part 2

In Desserts, Pies, Uncategorized on November 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Last year I made an all cranberry pie that I thought was spectacular.  The reviews, however, were mixed.  Mostly they were split into one of two camps: those who reveled in the bracing tartness of the cranberry and those that just felt the tartness was too overbearing.  Although I firmly fell in the former camp, I do see the perspective of the too-tart crowd.  Cranberries are an exceptional little fruit for their exceedingly tart flavor with only a slight hint at the sweetness they offer at the back of the mouth.  That’s what I like about them – they’re just a little different, they’re not super-sweet and they damned sure taste like New England to me.

I was going to revisit this pie for the all-cranberry dinner party I was cooking.  For a dinner where cranberries would be featured in every dish, it seemed fitting to finish it off with a big celebration of cranberry in the form of a pie.  But I wanted to dress it up.  Originally I had made it as a two crust pie.  For the 2010 edition, I would top it with a towering layer of meringue.

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Beet Soup

In Appetizers, Soups and Stews on November 16, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Loyal readers of this blog know my fondness for beets.  I think they are a remarkable vegetable that is highly underappreciated and underutilized.  Over the weekend I made a soup that was something like a borscht but that’s probably not quite fair to say.  Besides being loaded with beets, it was also stocked full of butternut squash, carrots, apples, and cranberries.

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Grilled Cole Slaw

In Side Dishes on November 3, 2010 at 7:56 am

Autumn in New England is a wonderful time for culinary explorations as there is a great wealth of food that is at, or at least still near, its peak. Squashes, pumpkins, apples, cranberries, Brussels sprouts and kale are all quite good right now.  If you’re lucky enough to hunt or know someone who hunts, the prospect of obtaining quality, fresh venison, duck, goose, or other game increases.  But there is a bitterness underlying the good fortune as there looms a long winter without a preponderance of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Thankfully, many squashes and root vegetables will keep through the winter and there are always dried beans and canned or preserved goods to turn to.  But I like to take advantage of the last remnants of truly fresh produce in the region and the cole crops such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and broccoli are prime suspects.  They are usually hardy through light frosts though a hard frost will ruin them.

This salad was born from simply needing to provide a side dish for a late season barbecue.  Thankfully, it’s remarkably simple if you omit the poached cranberries, though you will then need to make the dressing from scratch.  Grilling the cabbage softens the texture and the pears become lightly caramelized, making them just a little bit sweeter.  If you do not poach the cranberries, I would recommend adding a handful of sweetened dried cranberries in their place.

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Autumn Harvest Affogato

In Desserts on November 1, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Why it is that affogato hasn’t caught on with the masses is beyond me.  The more famous espresso-soaked dessert, tiramisu, which does little for me, is damn near the universal “Italian” dessert and yet affogato suffers anonymity.  To recap, affogato at its simplest is vanilla gelato with espresso poured over it.  A more luxe version would be to plate chocolate semifreddo topped with vanilla gelato and then the espresso, which is how Parson’s Table in Winchester makes theirs.  The sweet chocolate flavors are melded with the vanilla and then amped up by the bitter roasted flavor of espresso.  I really enjoyed this dessert.

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